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Heard on the Hill: Breaking the Code of Ethics

One major commandment of journalism: If thou art a hack, thou mustn’t flack.

So imagine our surprise when we realized the spokeswoman for October 2011, the group occupying Freedom Plaza, is Lisa Simeone, host of the radio program “Soundprint,” heard every Sunday at 11 p.m. on Washington’s public radio affiliate, WAMU. Simeone is also host of the NPR show “The World of Opera.”
When we asked Simeone about whether she was the host of “Soundprint,” she said, “Well, I work in radio still, but this is totally different.”

Huh. Different, how?

“I’m a freelancer,” she said.

OK …

“A journalist is always attached to journalism,” WAMU News Director Jim Asendio said. He also told HOH that WAMU uses the same code of ethics as NPR.

“Just substitute WAMU for NPR,” he said. (Since she kinda works for both, we just added.)

“NPR [and WAMU] journalists may not engage in public relations work, paid or unpaid,” the code of ethics declares. “Exceptions may be made for certain volunteer nonprofit, nonpartisan activities, such as participating in the work of a church, synagogue or other institution of worship, or a charitable organization, so long as this would not conflict with the interests of NPR [and WAMU] in reporting on activities related to that institution or organization.”

“Soundprint” is no longer produced by WAMU, though it airs on the station on Sundays.

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